Pressure Points: Gus is the centre of attention at the Dogs - and he'll be the fall guy if they fail in 2024
The recruitment is the story at the Dogs - and the recruiter might become it too if things go wrong in 2024.
State of Origin could take a shortened form in 2024 after the NRL told clubs that three days were to be shaved off each camp.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the clubs will be granted their wish for fewer days in camp, allowing for seven days of contact time with rep coaches instead of the current 10-day lead-in period.
Club bosses are against the status quo as they see the first two days as largely wasted on media and commercial work rather than on-field training, with players are taken away from their clubs for a longer time than is deemed necessary.
Queensland Rugby League (QRL) chair Bruce Hatcher told the SMH that the Maroons used those extra days for vital community work, and that the states had not been consulted in the decision-making process.
“I’m perplexed,” he said.
“We have an agreement to run Origin and we weren’t at a meeting which appears to have changed the manner in which the competition is conducted.”
Meanwhile, Brad Fittler has expressed his interest in continuing as NSW coach, telling the same masthead that he was ready to go around again in 2024, despite losing in 2023 and 2022.
“I’ve still got the energy, I’ve still got the drive,” said the Blues boss, who has made a presentation to the NSWRL board with his reflections on the most recent defeat.
“It is what it is, I love it, it’s fantastic. It’s a shame (that the scrutiny) affects people around you, but that’s life. That’s part of taking the job. The family is supportive, which is great. I love it, I love everything about it.
“I presented to the board and told them I would come back to them in a couple of weeks and go from there. I’ll go back to them with a plan. We had opportunities, whether we let them go, we exceeded (expectations) at some stages.
“There have been challenges along the way, it is what it is. Now it’s just about the decision going forward. You can’t change the past.”
Brisbane forward Brendan Piakura has received fines from the NRL match review committee for all three charges he received in the 32-22 loss to Melbourne.
It is a huge boost to the Broncos after coach Kevin Walters was resigned to being without the 21-year-old for week one of the finals series.
Piakura was put on report for a careless high tackle on Storm winger Grant Anderson in the first half. He was then pinged for dangerous contact on livewire debutant Sua Fa’alogo in the second half before catching forward Alec Macdonald high.
The classy second-rower received grade one charges for all three offences and $1000 fines for each with an early guilty plea.
MacDonald was sent for a HIA in the 75th minute after the incident. After the match Walters conceded Piakura could be in strife with the NRL match review committee.
“He is on report three times, so I dare say,” Walters said. “There wasn’t a lot in what he has done.”
The MRC agreed with Walters’ assessment.
Piakura has become a regular in the 17 as the season has gone on, with 26 tackles breaks and six line breaks in his 10 games providing impact.
Brisbane prop Xavier Willison, 21, limped off in the 47th minute with an ankle injury and will go for scans.
“It is not looking too good,” Walters said.
Prop Pat Carrigan (foot) and captain Adam Reynolds (calf) missed the Melbourne clash but Walters said both would be available next week.
The player at the heart of the Bulldogs ‘sharkbait’ punishment scandal has not ruled out taking legal action against the club, according to the Daily Telegraph.
A meeting was held between the player, his representatives and important figures at the Dogs, including General Manager of Football Phil Gould, in an attempt to smooth out the issue, which stems from an incident in which the unnamed player was forced to wrestle multiple teammates as a result of being late for training.
No resolution was forthcoming and now, legal action may follow. The player in question has been on mental health leave for a month and has not trained with the club.
Other teammates have since spoken out, backing the player and telling the Telegraph that they thought the punishment was disturbing.
Canterbury sponsors the Laundy Group have stood fast behind Gould and coach Cameron Ciraldo, with Craig Laundy telling the Telegraph:
“We believe it will bear fruit. The definition of insanity is trying the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.
“The board, Gus and Cam have a plan and that plan is around cultural change. They have Stu, Dad and myself – the Laundy families’ full support.”